Law prof who hoped to be a juror learns it is ‘basically impossible’ for a nursing mother

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Juries

University of Chicago clinical law professor Judith Miller was eager to serve as a juror at the civil courthouse in Chicago.

“Little did I know that I’d have no chance at being on the jury,” Miller wrote in the Chicago Tribune. “Not because I’m an attorney, and not because I’m a law professor, but because I’m a nursing mother.”

Miller had checked out the Cook County courts website, which said the Daley Center courthouse had a lactation room for jurors and people reporting for jury service. But the clerk overseeing would-be jurors had never heard of the lactation room. And the women’s restroom wasn’t an option because the electrical outlet didn’t work.

The clerk made a call to get the outlet fixed, but no one came to make the repair. “As for the mythical lactation room,” Miller wrote, “it remained so during my call to jury duty.”

Miller said her need to pump breast milk gave her just one choice: She had to leave.

Illinois permits nursing women to be excluded from jury duty, but that isn’t enough, according to Miller.

Illinois law protects the right of women to nurse in public and pump breast milk in workplaces and airports. The state will also protect that right in schools starting in 2018. The law should be extended to cover government buildings, Miller says.

“Motherhood and citizenship are not incompatible; Illinois courts shouldn’t treat them as if they are,” she writes.

Hat tip to How Appealing.




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